Slike strani

Arming to battle, and instead of rage Deliberate valor breathed, firm and unmoved

With dread of death to flight or foul retreat;


Nor wanting power to mitigate and swage,1 With solemn touches troubled thoughts, and chase

Anguish and doubt and fear and sorrow and pain

From mortal or immortal minds. Thus they,

Breathing united force with fixed thought, Moved on in silence to soft pipes that charmed 561 Their painful steps o'er the burnt soil; and


Advanced in view they stand, a horrid front

Of dreadful length and dazzling arms, in guise

Of warriors old, with ordered spear and shield, 565 Awaiting what command their mighty Chief

Had to impose. He through the armèd files

Darts his experienced eye, and soon traverse2

The whole battalion views-their order due.

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Or whom Biserta sent from Afric shore 585
When Charlemain with all his peerage fell
By Fontarabbia. Thus far these beyond
Compare of mortal prowess, yet observed1
Their dread Commander. He, above the

Waiting revenge. Cruel his eye, but cast
Signs of remorse and passion, to behold 605
The fellows of his crime, the followers


Their visages and stature as of gods; Their number last he sums. And now his (Far other once beheld in bliss), conheart



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Above them all the Archangel; but his
Deep scars of thunder had intrenched, and



Sat on his faded cheek, but under brows Of dauntless courage, and considerate pride

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There went a fame in Heaven that he ere

Thrice he assayed, and thrice, in spite of Intended to create, and therein plant
A generation whom his choice regard
Should favor equal to the Sons of Heaven.
Thither, if but to pry, shall be perhaps 655
Our first eruption;3 thither, or elsewhere;
For this infernal pit shall never hold
Celestial Spirits in bondage, nor the

With all his peers: attention held them mute.


Tears, such as Angels weep, burst forth: at last


Words interwove with sighs found out their way:

"O myriads of immortal Spirits! O Powers Matchless, but with the Almighty!-and that strife

Was not inglorious, though the event1 was dire,

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At Pandemonium, the high capital
Of Satan and his peers. Their summons

From every band and squared regiment
By place or choice the worthiest; they



Pour forth their populous youth about the hive

With hundreds and with thousands, trooping came, 760 Attended. All access was thronged; the gates

And porches wide, but chief the spacious hall

(Though like a covered field, where champions bold

Wont1 ride in armed, and at the Soldan's chair


Defied the best of Panim2 chivalry
To mortal combat, or career with lance),
Thick swarmed, both on the ground and in
the air,

Brushed with the hiss of rustling wings.


As bees

In spring-time, when the Sun with Taurus The consultation begun, Satan debates whether another battle be to be hazarded for the recovery of Heaven: some advise it, others dissuade. A third proposal is preferred, mentioned before by Satan-to search the truth of that prophecy or tradition in Heaven concerning another world, and another kind of creature, equal, or not much inferior, to themselves, about this time to be created. Their doubt who shall be sent on this difficult search: Satan, their chief, undertakes alone the voyage; is honored and applauded. The council thus ended, the rest betake them several ways and to several employments, as their inclinations lead them, to entertain the time till Satan return. He passes on his journey to Hell-gates, finds them shut, and who sat there to guard them; by whom at length they are opened, and discover to him the great gulf between Hell and Heaven; with what difficulty he passes through, directed by Chaos, the Power of that place, to the sight of this new World which he sought.


In clusters; they among fresh dews and flowers

Fly to and fro, or on the smoothed plank,
The suburb of their straw-built citadel,
New rubbed with balm, expatiate3 and

Their state-affairs.

So thick the aery

crowd 775 Swarmed and were straitened; till, the signal given,

Behold a wonder! they but now who seemed

In bigness to surpass Earth's giant sons,
Now less than smallest dwarfs, in narrow



Throng numberless, like that pygmean
Beyond the Indian mount; or faery elves,
Whose midnight revels, by a forest-side
Or fountain, some belated peasant sees,
Or dreams he sees, while overhead the

Sits arbitress, and nearer to the Earth 785 Wheels her pale course; they, on their mirth and dance

Intent, with jocund music charm his ear;

2 pagan,

1 used to.

4 discuss.

At once with joy and fear his heart rebounds.

3 walk about.



Thus incorporeal Spirits to smallest forms Reduced their shapes immense, and were at large,


Though without number still, amidst the hall

Of that infernal court. But far within,
And in their own dimensions like them-

The great Seraphic Lords and Cherubim
In close recess and secret conclave sat, 795
A thousand demi-gods on golden seats,
Frequent and full. After short silence.

And summons read, the great consult began.


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Or where the gorgeous East with richest


More than can be in Heaven, we now re-

Showers on her kings barbaric pearl and To claim our just inheritance of old,
Surer to prosper than prosperity

Could have assured us; and by what best


Whether of open war or covert guile,
We now debate. Who can advise may

He ceased; and next him Moloch, scep-
tred king,

Stood up, the strongest and the fiercest


Satan exalted sat, by merit raised
To that bad eminence; and, from despair
Thus high uplifted beyond hope, aspires
Beyond thus high, insatiate to pursue
Vain war with Heaven; and, by success1

His proud imaginations thus displayed:"Powers and Dominions, Deities of Heaven!


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Your bulwark, and condemns to greatest share

Of endless pain? Where there is, then, no good

For which to strive, no strife can grow up there

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O'er Heaven's high towers to force resistless way,

Turning our tortures into horrid arms Against the Torturer; when, to meet the noise


Of his almighty engine, he shall hear
Infernal thunder, and for lightning see


From faction: for none sure will claim in Black fire and horror shot with equal rage
Among his Angels, and his throne itself
Mixed with Tartarean sulphur and strange

Precedence; none whose portion is so small
Of present pain that with ambitious mind
Will covet more! With this advantage,


His own invented torments. But perhaps
The way seems difficult and steep to scale
With upright wing against a higher foe?
2 judgment.

To union, and firm faith, and firm accord,

1 the event.

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